Dealing with roommates

How to avoid signing your life over to a mortgage
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Dealing with roommates

Post by mathiverse »

Hi everyone!

My rent is high. It's due to location and living alone.

I am totally fine at getting along with roommates. I know how to find clean roommates. I usually become friends with my roommates. Those aren't issues for me.

However, I'm still pretty resistant to getting roommates again because I'm really self conscious about many things I'd like to do in the presence of people I don't know well and even if I weren't self conscious about a given thing I have a pretty low tolerance for noise and distractions. Therefore, I am often too self conscious to do anything other than hang out in my room.

Is that a problem other people have? Any tips on addressing it?

For example, in my place I might read a book at the kitchen table. When I have roommates, I may do this, but if they come out either 1) they are doing something that prevents me from reading books like hanging with their friends or watching tv or 2) I feel embarrassed enough about reading that I stop because the uncomfortable feeling distracts me as much as the actual noise they might make. I'm a lot more productive alone since I don't have to worry about that social issue I've got.

The noise/distraction issue could be solved by appropriate filtering of the people I choose to live with. The self consciousness seems like a harder problem for me to solve.

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Dealing with roommates

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

Is the self consciousness something you'd like to change (become less self conscious) or do you want to work around it somehow (find a roommate who is rarely around or something)? If the former I think you could work on it through practice or with a therapist. To a point you could work on the distraction problem too, though if something is too loud there may be no ignoring it.

When I was in college I worried about what a roommate would think of the novels I was reading. We had one conversation about how I liked Stephen King type books and that was it. He didn't care at all. It took me awhile but after awhile I figured out that most mature adults don't care what you are doing.

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Re: Dealing with roommates

Post by bostonimproper »

I'm not self-conscious exactly, but I certainly get distracted when I sense other people around me and there are a lot of times I'll generally prefer being alone due to introversion. When I had roommates, even when they were some of my best friends, there were plenty of times I'd hide away to my room. I never really felt like common spaces were really mine unless they were out. It's less of an issue now with my husband because we are so comfortable with one another, but even that took some time. Constant exposure helps.

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Re: Dealing with roommates

Post by thrifty++ »

Im kind of similar. But still. Why not just hang out in your room? Do your cooking and eating in the kitchen and lounge and then go to your room. It will help get the rent down.

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Re: Dealing with roommates

Post by ertyu »

Same, I often want to close the door on myself not "at" my roommates but just because I need to be alone to relax. I also do not like to do things around others sometimes, even if the thing isn't anything objectionable or a big deal. I think it's legitimate to not want to discuss one's choices or opinions with others, I sympathize with bostonimproper's desire to read books in solitude. I feel like if I am in public, then the book will become the topic of a friendly small talk session and sometimes that feels too intrusive. It might not be a big deal, but I would still like to keep it to myself.

I have introspected around this and have identified two reasons why I am like this. One, my father was the type of person who, when he saw me doing something, would always comment on it. E.g. he would see me try to do push-ups and say something like, "hoping to impress girls, ey?" which made me feel like i must have been exercising because i was somehow deficient and not out of a desire to improve myself or access a better future (as would have been the case if he'd said something like, "oh, you're doing push-ups, cool! How many can you do now?" or some such.

Second, I have some "geeky" pop culture interests which, while I know objectively isn't a big deal and pretty much everyone is into something geeky or aother, has sometimes left me feeling like an "other" when younger. The tl;dr: is, I always seem to feel like any interest of mine that is exposed to others (who aren't known to already share that interest) runs the risk of having me feel this awkward, weirdo, feeling.

The weird thing is that these things happened when I was quite young. I am very far from young now, and I know objectively exercising where others I know can see (going to a gym with strangers is fine) or having others know what fandom i'm into are both a non-issue. But the feeling of unease persists.

I deal with it by closing the door on myself. My advice would be to actually say something explicitly to your roommates. "Hey, I'm not unfriendly, but I'm quite introverted, so after a day of work I like to spend most of my time in my room. I wanted to point this out so you guys know I'm not doing it at you or anything. I quite like you and I like hanging out. I just need more time alone than the average person. Do knock on my door if you guys decide to do X activity"

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Re: Dealing with roommates

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Yeah, other people suck. Even if you are pretty damn good at tuning your dial all the way down to "oblivious", the ones who want your attention will start yelling at you, etc. Probably what works best is to practice at being very bold in your silent or spoken response to others. Maybe work on a mantra along the lines of "Sod off." and/or "None of your effin business." or you could just develop the skill of making very specific insults about other's appearance like a mean tween girl. As in, if somebody asks you what you are reading, just reply with something like "What's wrong with your hair?"

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Re: Dealing with roommates

Post by Jean »

Tolerating people around you a lot of the time is probably a very usefull skill if normal ceases to be.

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Re: Dealing with roommates

Post by classical_Liberal »

I'm the same way as you and @bostonimproper, and have also gotten used to a SO in the house. It's better than a roommate from a "comfortable" standpoint. Still, I need my real alone time. I really think setting up a "cave" in your room with a comfy chair and whatever entertainment that suits you is a great thing. You can mentally compartmentalize the common space vs your "cave". Then most of the annoying roommate stuff isn't so bothersome. Just clean the common space once a month or so and hope roommates do the same. All that's really required is that they don't hassle you for needing your space in the room, and aren't so distracting that you hear them through the walls all the time. Some specific things with a "cave"; get a locked door handle on your room to help with that secure feeling, and get a decent sound system so you can play low level music or white noise to drown out crap happening in the common areas.

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